Widely venerated spiritual leader and humanitarian Pujya Shri Rambapa, lovingly known as ‘Bapa’ or ‘Babaji’, was instrumental in laying the foundation for British Hindus ever since his arrival in London in 1970. Pujya Bapa left his body peacefully in London on January 31 with his family at his side and Ram naam on his lips, his followers announced this week.
His devotees celebrate his legacy as having inspired and uplifted millions through his devotion, service and practical teachings. They note that as someone revered across the world, Pujya Bapa has left an indelible legacy on the British and global Hindu community, raising the levels of spiritual consciousness and devotion towards his beloved Hanumanji and fearlessly achieving feats that will forever remain the gold standard in selfless service.
Born Maganlal Vallabhdas Bhimjiyani in the Gujarati village of Jira in India, it was at the age of seven he felt a deep desire to live for a higher purpose. He skipped school to go and sit in the local Hanuman mandir and devoted his time to studying the ancient Hindu text ‘Ramayana’ and in the selfless service of the underprivileged and visiting saints and sages.
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In 1930, he moved to Uganda where he met his Sat Guru, Pujya Shree Hirjibapa, and spent the next 40 years serving him in East Africa. Through Pujya Hirjibapa’s grace and guidance, Pujya Rambaba realised the true purpose of his life – to selflessly serve humanity through total surrender to Lord Hanumanji. Whilst in Uganda, Bapa intimately learned every verse of the ‘Ramayana’ and wholeheartedly committed himself to many service projects, including the construction of the first Sanatan Hindu Temple in Kampala – which stands today as a landmark of the town and still holds weekly Hanuman Chalisa Yagnas.
In 1970, anticipating violence from Idi Amin government, Bapa moved to London with his family and established Shree Jignyasu Satsang Mandal to lay the foundation for the practice of Hinduism in the UK.
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Pujya Rambapa never considered himself as the “doer” and so with this surrendered approach and utmost humility coupled with a fierce determination and an unquenchable thirst to serve he was instrumental in many service projects, most notably:
Murti Seva - Pujya Rambaba has to date helped in the establishment of over 70 temples across the UK and overseas through the donation of beautiful life size marble deities, providing hope, inspiration and blessings to the Hindu community.
Serving Saints - In the early 1980’s in tandem with weekly recitals of the ‘Ramayana’ and the ‘Hanuman Chalisa’, Pujya Bapa began inviting highly acclaimed saints from India, such as Pujya Moraribapu, Uma Bhartiji and Indu Bhusanji to share their knowledge with the British Hindu community.
Kumbh Mela Projects - Pujya Rambapa’s service work overseas has been inspirational and significant also, he personally attended seventeen “Kumbh Mela” and “Magmas Mela” pilgrimages across India, where his trust “Maruti Rambapa Seva Trust” established and ran free food and medical camps, serving close to ten thousand poor and needy pilgrims and sadhus each day, often for weeks at a time. At these camps, Pujya Bapa was always present on the frontline, tirelessly serving all visitors with his own hands from dawn to dusk.
Bhakti and Bhajan - Pujya Bapa has presided over weekly recitals of ‘Shri Hanuman Chalisa’ 108 times (lasting seven hours), attributing all of his success to Hanumanji’s and his guru’s grace and at all times maintaining his dasya bhava.
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His birthday has been observed since 1970 as a day of prayer and selfless service, a tradition his devotees and family intend to continue.
*Info: Rambapa Tributes